Report what comic books you have read today--and tell us a little something about it while you're here!

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I've been looking forward to Batman '66/LSH.

I think I started reading the Sam Wilson series with the Standoff crossover. Then I bought the backissues (or was it a tpb?). Anyway, until Steve Rogers gets his head together (and maybe even then), Sam Wilson is my Captain America.

I noticed that there are a few parts in Standoff, after Kobik restores Steve to his youth (and secretly changes his past), that hint at the storyline to come. There's a moment where Steve hits someone with all his might, taking him down in a way that Sam seems to think is pretty brutal. He pauses for a moment, then says something about his restored strength taking some getting used to. And of course, he takes about 15 minutes after getting restored, just sitting there, coming to grips with it. (I've heard in an interview with Spencer that he has both original Steve and Stevil's memories, so he had something to grapple with there.)

Plus, of course, there's Zemo wondering why he let Rogers and Hill out of his sight, while the newly telepathic Red Skull says nothing...everything's going according to his (much subtler) plan. 

It's really good groundwork.

Moving into a Howard Chaykin phase. Last night I read…

SOLO: One of several one-shots DC released a decade or so ago, each one spotlighting the work of a different artist. The Chaykin one demonstrates the artist’s versatility in handling five or six stories across multiple genres. This was only the second time I had read it.

MARKED MAN: Thanks to Rob Staeger for pointing out to me that the “Marked Man” serial from Dark Horse Presents has been collected in trade. Most of Chaykin’s work is complex enough that it reads better in a single sitting, and that is certainly the case here. I remember reading the early chapters in DHP, but last night was the first time I read the entire story in its entirety. He rarely revisits characters of series after moving on, but “Marked Man” is open ended in such a way that it looked as if he intended to use the two main characters again. (He easily could if he wanted to, anyway.) Plus there’s a little “zinger” at the end, not exactly a plot twist, but a revelation. The hardcover collection is only $15, a bargain in comparison to the tpb of Mighty Love which is $18.

OTHER: While consolidating my Chaykin comics into a single box, I discovered some I had missed. Because I feel they read better in a single sitting, there are some series I decided to trade-wait. Some trade-waits were successful (Phantom Eagle, The Death of Wolverine) while others were not (Challengers of the Unknown, City of Tomorrow). I have added those two to my list (on the Divided States of Hysteria page) as well as these others: Catwoman: Follow the Money, Century West, Black XXX-mas). He also did individual issues of Captain America and Avengers in the past decade or so.

Paper Girls 2

Brian K. Vaughan, writer; Cliff Chiang, artist; Matt Wilson, colors; Jared K. Fletcher, letters

Image Comics, 2016

At the end of the first collection it appeared that three of the paper girls had time traveled. The story picks up there, as one of the girls meets her future self (the proof is that they both have the same bullet wound scar on their stomachs). The action mostly revolves around the girls attempting to reunite with their friend: they were separated during the chaos at the end of the previous volume. There's some fun with the 1988 girls confronting the strange future world of 2016. And the anomalies keep happening: the sudden appearance of dinosaurs and other strange creatures. Plus the two conflicting groups from the future which were seen before. It's still not clear who are "good guys" and who are "bad guys," and the story leaves that mostly unresolved, but we learn that the space/time rifts are called "foldings."  In the end the paper girls are reunited, in yet another strange place. There's not a lot resolved here, but it remains intriguing. I did notice that the series is a fast read. I can only imagine what it would be like to read it monthly. Viewed as individual issues, I don't think enough happens in each one.

Pretty Deadly Vol. 2: The Bear

Kelly Sue DeConnick, script; Emma Ríos, art & covers; Jordie Bellaire, colors; Clayton Cowles, letters

Image Comics, 2016

The first Pretty Deadly collection was a dizzying succession of surreal images and supernatural world building, often difficult to follow. This arc is much more focused. The framing story is again told by a skeleton bunny to a butterfly--this is where the title bear comes in, a parable about the roles of small things (bees) and large (the bear). Sarah Fields is dying. When one of the Reapers comes for her, her children strike a bargain to give them a month until the next full moon to find her son. Cyrus is fighting with the French in trench warfare in World War One. Reapers are sent to find him, and one of them confronts the Reaper of War in an attempt to end the war. Given the battleground setting of much of the story, the art is often bleak. Ríos finds some beauty in the carnage: the Reapers have a certain grace, and a gas attack even provides opportunity for color and texture contrast.

Another thing I meant to mention. This collection includes a good bit of back matter: three "Dead To Rights" columns from the monthlies, "A selection of sketches, pin-ups & prose." The first one talks about the genesis of the series, and the later include process discussions between DeConnick and Ríos. There's also a guest illustrated prose piece by Chad Collier and several guest pin-ups.

I really need to get caught up on this series. Is the third volume out yet?

Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) said:

Paper Girls 2

Brian K. Vaughan, writer; Cliff Chiang, artist; Matt Wilson, colors; Jared K. Fletcher, letters

Image Comics, 2016

At the end of the first collection it appeared that three of the paper girls had time traveled. The story picks up there, as one of the girls meets her future self (the proof is that they both have the same bullet wound scar on their stomachs). The action mostly revolves around the girls attempting to reunite with their friend: they were separated during the chaos at the end of the previous volume. There's some fun with the 1988 girls confronting the strange future world of 2016. And the anomalies keep happening: the sudden appearance of dinosaurs and other strange creatures. Plus the two conflicting groups from the future which were seen before. It's still not clear who are "good guys" and who are "bad guys," and the story leaves that mostly unresolved, but we learn that the space/time rifts are called "foldings."  In the end the paper girls are reunited, in yet another strange place. There's not a lot resolved here, but it remains intriguing. I did notice that the series is a fast read. I can only imagine what it would be like to read it monthly. Viewed as individual issues, I don't think enough happens in each one.

Wow, this is another entire series that I really need to reread. I have the big slab of a hardcover edition. I remember Darwyn Cooke's chapter was incredible, but there are so many great artists in that one. I know it sits on my shelf next to Walt Simonson's The Judas Coin, which I have heard was originally Simonson's Solo issue before the series was canceled.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

SOLO: One of several one-shots DC released a decade or so ago, each one spotlighting the work of a different artist. The Chaykin one demonstrates the artist’s versatility in handling five or six stories across multiple genres. This was only the second time I had read it.

Papergirls Vol. 3 is due out on Aug. 8. There's also a hardcover Deluxe edition of the first 10 issues due out in November (knowing how much you love those things).

Hearing the Bernie Wrightson tribute panel at HeroesCon reminded me that I had individual ecomic issues of Frankenstein: Alive, Alive! (one of many collaborations with Steve Niles). I remember trade waiting it at the time...but there were only three issues over almost two years. It's never been collected, and has all the hallmarks of an aborted project. There's a conversation between Wrightson and Niles in the first issue, about their early exposure to the Frankenstein character. It's labeled Part One and says "To be continued..." at the end, but never was. Unfortunately the story itself is the same. Despite the long gap between issues 2 and 3, apparently they did intend to continue, because there was no attempt at a wrap-up, just "To be continued..." at the end. I suspect Wrightson's failing health was the cause. It's a shame, because they were creating a classic sequel to the original Frankenstein tale--the Monster's life after escaping the villagers at the end of the book. Wrightson's art is splendid, and apparently was scanned in color from the original inks. So although it's basically black and white, you can see more detail, close to looking at the original pages.

Wonder Woman/Bionic Woman cross over.  They've brought in just about everyone from both series, both hero and villain and Paradise Island is in trouble.  

Most of the comics I have read today have been messed up and crazy, but sometimes, I'm in the mood for just that. Most of the art I looked at today was similar to album covers.

Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks #1: This one, from Image, is the return of a title from the early 2000's. It's by Jim Mahfood and Justin Stewart, and it brings back the cussing, drug-doing, violent girls from the first series. The cousin of one of them wants revenge for the way she was treated as a kid, so now that same cousin is amassing a giant army of vengeful to come after all three of the Scouts. The art is frenetic and awesome. I have issue 2, but haven't yet read it. One issue is a little much to take in at one time, let alone two. Still, I'm looking forward to reading it soon.

Space Riders: Galaxy of Brutality #1-2: This book was written by Fabian Rangel, Jr. (and co-created by Alexis Ziritt, to be fair) and drawn by Alexis Ziritt. Anyone who has noticed my reviews of Helena Crash knows that Fabian Rangel, Jr. has been one of my favorite new writers ever since I took note of that book back in the spring. Craving more of that, I found this book. This has everything I loved about that book, only in outer space. Evidently, there was an original series, which I need to find, because this is fantastic. The art, the colors, and the tone of the story just reminds me of an 80's pinball machine. It's a retro-space opera that has nods to Kirby, Watchmen, Omega Men, and David Bowie. The only thing that freaked me out is the fact that Mono, one of the main characters, has the face of a mandrill. I have always been really freaked out by mandrills.

'Namwolf #3: Woohooo! Another book written by Fabian Rangel, Jr! This one comes from Eric Powell's Albatross Funnybooks. I've discussed at least the first issue before, not sure if I mentioned the second one or not. It's about an American werewolf in the Vietnam War. It is awesome. The werewolf in question was shipped off to the war not realizing he was part of a long line of werewolves. Now he's dealing with all of the fallout. The art on this one is by Logan Faerber. It's cartoony, but not simple. This book is pretty much a joy to behold. What I love about Rangel's writing is that it's full of positive energy. It's a refreshing change.

Helena Crash #4: Okay, I promise this is the last one written by Fabian Rangel, Jr. This was the conclusion of this miniseries. This book had our hero--a coffee smuggler--fighting Rojo's army, including the White Demon. She starts a road race to end the whole thing, and her boxing coach/mentor Hemingway's life hangs in the balance. I've said it before--this is relentlessly entertaining.

All Time Comics: Bullwhip #1 and All Time Comics: Atlas #1: This series from Fantagraphics written by Josh Bayer and drawn by Ben Marra started off with Crime Destroyer #1. This book is so hard to explain to anyone who hasn't read it. It is very retro, but not condescendingly so. Still, it is very much in on the joke that makes it violent and awesome and super-hero-esque. A feminist super-hero has to battle a Donald Trump-ish misogynist and save a debutante from a vampire from the future. A super-hero's pal sees his idol and best friend put into prison, and so he gets himself thrown into prison to help get his buddy out. A giant mass of spiders with a mother spider in the middle wreaks havoc on the city and the super-hero has to stop it. It's crazy. The art looks like it's from an old horror comic. I love it so much.

I guess I have just spent so long being expected to take comic book stories seriously; I needed a day like today where I just read stuff that is what it is--incredible ridiculousness.

MONSTERS: I read at least one of these a day, but sometimes I read only one a day. I’d like to time this out to be finished when volume two ships August 2.

THE BRAVE & THE BOLD OMNIBUS: I’ve been reading less than one of these per day. This past week, my DC itch has been scratched by reading…

SUPERBOY & THE LEGION OF SUPERHEROES: It’s funny, I’ve owned the originals for years, but I never read them until they were collected. One of the stories was illustrated by Howard Chaykin, which complements another project…

HOWARD CHAYKIN: This week I read his Buck Rogers from Hermes Press. It’s a fairly straight adaptation of the original, taking into account history since 1929.

BUCK ROGERS (comic strip): I read the first two years to set me up for the Chaykin series. I would like to continue to the other volumes as well, but last night I took a slight (?) detour to read…

THE COMPLETE DICK TRACY, Vol. 22: With this volume, Chester Gould jumps into the “Moon-era” with both feet. Not generally considered his best period (not even by me), but the Dick Tracy I grew up with.

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